A 36-year-old man from Connor Township has been charged with arson in connection with a fire Thursday afternoon that damaged a 19th century church building in Caribou.

Douglas Ouellette was arrested Thursday night for setting fire to the building on Grove Street that previously housed the Unitarian Universalist Church, according to Maine Public Safety Department spokesperson Shannon Moss.

The fire started in a back office of the 154-year-old structure just before 3 p.m. The Caribou Fire Department responded and extinguished the blaze before it could spread to the main part of the building.

Maine State Fire Marshal Investigators were called in as the cause of the fire was considered to be “suspicious.”  Investigators processed the scene until late Thursday evening, with assistance from Caribou Police and Fire Departments.

The church is now home to Celebrate Recovery, a center used to help people in need.  Ouellette’s family owns the building.

Ouellette was transported to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton with bail set at $25,000 cash.  He was expected to appear in court on Friday.

Read more about the Historic Caribou Church here.

Landmark church on Grove Street in Caribou, Maine is damaged by fire Oct. 21,2021
Photo credit: realtyofmaine.com

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